Pumps, pipes and bores to save Warwick running dry in August
POLITICIANS are scrambling to find a solution as the clock ticks down on Warwick’s dwindling water supply, now predicted to run dry by August.
The region’s driest year on record has left Leslie Dam at 4.61 per cent and Connolly Dam at 25.6 per cent of their total capacity, with further strain expected after full time carting began delivering water to Stanthorpe.
Changing the pumps at Leslie Dam will buy Warwick more time, according to Southern Downs Regional Council water manager Seren McKenzie.
“If we change the pump situation and suck the water out rather than letting it flow with gravity, that can probably get us through to the 2021 wet season,” she said.
“It’s a pretty quick solution, we’ve had meetings with Sun Water and now we’re working with consultants to work out what we need to move ahead with it.”
Bores hold the key to greater water security for Warwick and council is working with the State Government to establish water bore fields to the west of Allora, according to Mayor Tracy Dobie.
“We need to make sure we can get 6.5ML of water each day to service the whole of the local government area,” Cr Dobie said.
“We have prepared the bores at Allora and now we’re just waiting for the next meeting with the state government to look at the construction of bores to the west.”
Ms McKenzie said five or six bores would need to be constructed, depending on the yield and quality of water at the chosen locations.
“That should be enough to get us through another six to 12 month period without rain, into another wet season,” she said.
The “ultimate solution”, however, is the construction of a pipeline from Toowoomba to Warwick, which would pump water from the drought-stricken centre to the north.
This would, however, take years and require agreement between SDRC, Toowoomba Regional Council and Seqwater.
“If that goes in, that is the supply that will keep us going until we get rain, because it links back into the south east Queensland network,” Ms McKenzie said.
Significant rain would be needed to bring the region out of drought, Ms McKenzie said.
“I’d love to see it get the amount of rain that would push it back over 15 per cent and to the point where farmers can use it,” she said.
“But how much rain we need there depends on so many different variables: The rainfall intensity and the ground needs to be wet so it can run off into the dam.
“You can look at the records but it’s hard to predict, we’d need at least a few months of consistent rainfall over the dam.”